The team at Niagara Vintage Wine Tours (NVWT) truly know how to provide a stellar, memorable experience for their guests. Combining educational and interactive aspects, these tours are for both the wine aficionado and the casual wine drinker.
Recently, they've been rated Top Rated in Canada with nearly 1,000 reviews!
I stayed at the Shaw Club the night before the tour, and it was simply wonderful. The service was great, friendly and energetic, the room was clean and elegant and the food at the on-site restaurant Zee’s was delicious! They even went as far as to put my name on a letterhead in case I had to send someone a note, and there were TWO thank you cards with my name on them as well as a gift bag with a travel mug, USB and other goodies. If you want the lap of luxury, this is the place to be!
I took the “Full day tour with lunch” option in mid-April and from the outset, I was impressed. There were 14 in our group and we were picked up in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter to begin our day. It wasn’t a short school bus, not a long school bus, not a minivan: a luxury people mover.
Our tour guide, Gus, picked me up from the Shaw Club just before 10:00 a.m. I’ve always felt that the tour guide was almost more important than the actual tour itself. If you don’t have a charismatic, intelligent, friendly and experienced guide, you may as well go on your own to these places. Gus was all of these and so much more. He greeted us very warmly (as he did everyone), got to know who each guest was and what they looked for in both the tour and their wine preferences.
NVWT only hires guides who have worked in the wine industry, are very experienced and knowledgeable, and are very passionate about wine culture. Gus was all of these things. I asked Gus what brought him from other wine tour companies to NVWT. He said that he believes in the vision that owners Gabriela and Chris Fuccilo have for providing a world-class experience that’s centered on customer service and exceeding guest expectations. He also said it doesn’t feel like a job at all. Rather, he gets to share his knowledge of wine with new people (and some repeat guests).
Our first stop was at Konzelmann Estate Winery where four samples were provided. My favourite was the Gewürztraminer, although I did enjoy the Pinot Blanc and Shiraz as well.
The group was given a quick history of the winery and Gus explained to us how the grapes were grown, the strategy behind vine pruning and the effect weather patterns have on grapes.
Next up was Pillitteri Estates Winery, and let me say, they have two walls of awards they’ve won! The group had six samples and while I’m not usually an ice wine fan, their Vidal Ice Wine was quite good.
Interesting fact: Nearly 80 percent of all of Canada’s Ice Wine is produced in Ontario. We took a quick 30 second walk from the main building to the cellar where there’s an incredibly beautiful 500 ft. long table.
We stopped for lunch at The Charles Inn, one of the best dining options in the area. The menu offerings were great and I had a delicious salad, truffle Mac and Cheese for lunch and crème brulée for dessert.
After lunch we went to a quaint winery called Between the Lines where the samples of Riesling, rose and Cab Franc were splendid!
Pondview was our next stop where their Cab Franc was equally as great as Between the Lines.
It was a great day visiting all of these wineries, but the real difference was a combination of a great tour guide and a great organization. NVWT strives to exceed expectations and give you a day to remember and they easily did both for me and the group. By the end of the tour, everyone was laughing, chatting and socializing like we’d known each other for years.
NVWT has been voted the number one activity in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the past five years via Trip Advisor, which is a very impressive feat as it’s a reflection of just how superb their organization is.
Gabriella and Chris have really found a way to re-invent the traditional wine tour by dedication to customer service and focusing on providing a great experience.
All your information for a great wine tour can be found via http://niagaravintagewinetours.com
If you’re looking for a great day/weekend away in wine country, NVWT is your best bet for a memorable trip.